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St. Lucie County expects to vote on turbines next week  

The St. Lucie County Commission is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to send a letter to the state’s Acquisition and Restoration Council opposing Florida Power & Light Co.’s proposal to put wind turbines on publicly owned Blind Creek Park on Hutchinson Island.

The park is owned by the state and the South Florida Water Management District but leased by the county. So far, at least three commissioners have publicly rejected the idea of using the conservation land for FPL’s $60 million wind turbine project.

Commission Chairman Joe Smith and Commissioner Charles Grande have not taken a position.

FPL is proposing putting nine turbines on Hutchinson Island, six on its own property at the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant and three at Blind Creek Park.

Smith said Wednesday he hadn’t seen the letter yet, but said he would vote for sending it as long as it simply states that a majority of the commission opposes putting the turbines on public land.

On the larger issue of whether to allow the turbines at all, Smith said his role as commission chairman is to let the discussion play out among the board before weighing in.

FPL officials plan to meet with the Acquisition and Restoration Council in Tallahassee on April 10 and 11 to discuss its proposal. FPL officials want the council to grant the company’s request for an easement to use Blind Creek.

Grande said Wednesday that he doesn’t necessarily see having the turbines on public land as a rationale for turning down the project. He hasn’t made up his mind on the turbines and is keeping an open mind until he hears all sides.

The commission meeting begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the County Administration Building, 2300 Virginia Avenue.

By Jeremy Ashton, Alexi Howk

TCPalm

12 March 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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